Christopher Basso

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What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?

I am an owner and brewmaster at Newburgh Brewing Company in New York. I fell in love with craft beer in my junior year of college. A bar down the street from my apartment had 150 beers on tap and it was there that I started to explore all that the beer world had to offer. From there I began to homebrew while attending culinary school. I figured if I could cook, I would be able to brew. Once school wrapped up, I was hooked on brewing and was lucky enough to land a job in Brooklyn. After some years, it was time to move back home and start Newburgh Brewing Company.

What’s new at Newburgh Brewing?

We try to always have something new in the tanks. We have only been brewing for a short time but have released 12 different beers with many more to follow. We are trying to get some wooden barrels or tanks to begin a sour ale program and are also looking to expand our packaging into 750ml bottles. In our taproom, the menu, like the beers, is constantly changing with the seasons according to what is available. Being in the Hudson Valley of New York allows us some of the best ingredients for our beers and food. Whether fresh hops and pumpkins during harvest or cheeses and locally raised pigs, we try to use the bounty that surrounds us.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?

The craft brewing community never ceases to amaze me. We were the first brewery in our county but the other local breweries in the surrounding counties reached out and were very welcoming toward us and that has been great. Getting to know our brewing, distilling, and winemaking neighbors is always fun for both camaraderie and collaborations as well as learning from the variety of ways everyone does things. The local brewing community around here has even started having monthly meet-ups just to chat and become friends. In what other industry would you see that?

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?

I really don’t get away from the brewery as I am the only one in the brewhouse, but I actually enjoy helping out in the taproom kitchen in my spare time. We get a pig in every week and making sausages and salamis is one of my hobbies. When I actually get to leave, I enjoy spending time with my nephews and visiting a new restaurant or bar that I have never been to, and just relaxing with good food, good beer, and my girlfriend, Kyla.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

We cook with all of our beers here in the taproom and that is always fun, but I think the best thing we do is our Brown Ale chocolate ice cream float. Malt syrup, Mexican chocolate, and dark chocolate ice cream with Brown Ale is just absolutely delicious every time. For a pairing, I love a great blue cheese with a rich imperial stout like Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?

Nothing has been more difficult or all-encompassing than trying to open the brewery, so it makes everything else I have done pale in comparison. I have a wonderful woman in my life and my family and friends and I just consider myself very fortunate to wake up every day and be able to do exactly what I love doing.

What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?

I am a big fan of sessionable beers and that is why my own beers fall under that label more often than not. Bitter American from 21st Amendment is just a pleasure to drink and the can is super cool too! Also, anything from Firestone Walker is going to be well made and really drinkable, whether sessionable or not.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?

I was lucky enough to go on a trip to the UK with my coworkers in Brooklyn. We were able to visit Samuel Smiths, Marston’s, and The White Shield Brewery. I will never forget watching the Burton Unions do their thing or seeing the Yorkshire Squares bubbling away. I pulled my first hand-drawn beer at the Samuel Smiths private pub and the flavor of Pedigree while you are sitting at Marston’s in Burton on Trent is just phenomenal. The “Burton snatch” is a very real thing and I have been dreaming of that beer ever since that trip.

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